What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is an incredible example of mental muddle which is exemplified by crumbling of thought processes and emotional receptiveness. It can be straightforwardly acknowledged by auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre illusions, dislocated speech or thinking aptitude pursued by social or occupational dysfunction. The warning signs initiate untimely in the adulthood. The disease is recognized to affect about 1% of the human population with about 2 million patients from the United States unaided.

Schizophrenia is also known as split personality disorder and it affects men extra recurrently in contrast to women. A number of aspects play decisive task in aggravating the symptoms of this disorder and these issues are genetic parameters, early environment, neurobiology, physiological and social processes. Some drugs also contribute a petite portion in making the condition of the patient poorer.

In the present scenario researchers are very much spotlighted on the neurobiological factors but no apposite consequence has cropped up. The authentic cause of the disorder is still a contentious concern and the intact argument is centered on the verity that whether the disorder is due to a single cause or other syndromes are also correlated with it. The word schizophrenia has been taken from a Greek word implicating split mind. Antipsychotic medication is usually applied while treating the patients of this disorder as it curbs dopamine and serotonin receptor bustle. Psychotherapy tracked by social and vocational rehabilitation play an imperative role in treatment. In very ruthless cases hospitalization becomes obligatory. The disorder is essentially branded to influence cognition causing setbacks connected with behavior and emotions. Patients also suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. The typical life span of the patient is of 12-15 years after the identification of the disease.

Types

The ICD-10 criteria are used in the European countries but DSM-IV-TR criteria are used in the United States and rest of the world for the classification of schizophrenia. The ICD-10 criteria accentuate more on Schneiderian first-rank symptoms. The revised fourth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) defines three major criteria while classifying individuals suffering from schizophrenia. Individuals suffering from this disease generally suffer from delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized behavior and negative symptoms. The personal relations as well as the personal life of the victim also get distracted. These signs of disturbance generally persist for about six months. Children belonging to the age group of 6 years sometimes show symptoms of this disease and they are at the risk of developing these symptoms more intensely in their adulthood. There are five types of schizophrenia each can be distinguished on the basis of the symptoms. These are:

1. Paranoid Schizophrenia

In this case the victim suffers from one or more different types of delusions as well as auditory hallucinations. The symptoms of this type are entirely different from that of disorganized schizophrenia.

2. Disorganized Schizophrenia

The most noticeable symptoms of the disorganized schizophrenia are disorganized speech and behavior but the symptoms are absolutely different from that of catatonic schizophrenia.

3. Catatonic Schizophrenia

The persons suffering from this disorder generally feel difficulty in moving, show resistance in moving as well as show anomalous movements also.

4. Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

This condition can be identified by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, catatonic behavior or negative symptoms. The individuals suffering from this state cannot be placed in the category of paranoid, disorganized and catatonic schizophrenia.

5. Residual Schizophrenia

The common symptoms include difficulty in speaking as well as loss of interest in daily activities.

History

The term schizophrenia is in practice since 1911. It was finally kept in the category of mental illness in 1887 by Emil Kraepelin. The Ancient Egyptian, Hindu, Chinese, Greek, and Roman writings also describe about this disorder. During the medieval times schizophrenia was thought to be caused by spirits and evil powers. Studies have specified that the social stigma is one of the treacherous obstacles that stop the patients of schizophrenia from recovering. A study carried out in 1999 designated that about 12.8% Americans who were suffering from schizophrenia were more interested violent activities while 48% individuals were calm and quite. A very famous Hollywood film entitled The Beautiful Mind depicts the life of John Nash who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Another film The Soloist portrays about the challenges faced by Juilliard-trained musician Nathaniel Ayers as a result of schizophrenia.

Causes

Both genetic as well as environmental factors play a strategic role in the development of schizophrenia. People with family history of the disease are at the risk of getting distressed with the disease in near future. However, the guesstimates of heritability vary due to difficulty in separating the genetic as well as environmental factors while identifying the disease. According to an estimate about 40% of the mono-zygotic twins are at the risk of getting infected with this disease. Many genes are associated with development of every symptom of the disorder. A number of genome wide associations like zinc finger protein 804A, NOTCH4 and protein loci are found to be linked. There appears a momentous overlap between the genetics of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The environmental factors that are linked with schizophrenia include living environment, prenatal stressors and drug intake. Social isolation and immigration related to social adversity, racial discrimination, family dysfunction, unemployment, and poor housing conditions also play a crucial role in the development of this disorder. Childhood factors like sexual abuse and any trauma can result in schizophrenia in the adulthood.

A number of drugs namely cocaine, cannabis and amphetamines also contribute in the development of schizophrenia. Individuals suffering from schizophrenia normally consume drugs in order to cope up with depression, loneliness, boredom and anxiety. Cannabis is generally associated with increasing the risk of development of a psychotic disorder. Frequent use of this drug generally doubles the risk of getting affected with schizophrenia and psychosis. Excessive intake of cocaine and amphetamine can also increase the risk of schizophrenia. Other factors like hypoxia and infection, stress or malnutrition in the mother during fetal development can somewhat increase the risk of schizophrenia in the baby in later stages of life. Studies have indicated that the people suffering from schizophrenia are generally born in the months of winter and spring and are at the risk of getting infected with viral diseases more frequently. The percentage of such individuals varies from 5-8%.

Signs and Symptoms

An individual diagnosed with schizophrenia may complain of hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking and speech. Disorganized speech includes loss of ability to speak clear sentences. Social withdrawal, sloppiness of dressing and hygiene, loss of motivation and judgment power are common in schizophrenia. Loss of responsiveness and impairment in social cognition are very common in this disorder. Social isolation is the symptom of paranoia. The person may become mute, may show purposeless agitation showing signs of catatonia. Late adolescence and early adulthood are the peak periods at which an individual is at higher risk of getting affected with schizophrenia. Data have shown that in 40% of men and 23% of women the symptoms of schizophrenia generally arise at the age of 19.

Positive and negative symptoms of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is often defined in terms of positive and negative symptoms. The positive symptoms of the disease are normally not experienced by the victim but are present within the body of the patient and may remain unnoticed. These symptoms comprise tactile, auditory, gustatory, visual and olfactory hallucinations that are typically regarded as expressions of psychosis. Delusions and disordered thoughts and speech are other symptoms. These positive symptoms can be well treated with medication. The negative symptoms include loss of normal emotional responses or other thought responses and are difficult to be treated with medication. The other negative symptoms include blunted affect and emotion, poverty of speech, the desire to form relationships is lost, lack of motivation and inability to experience pleasure. The negative symptoms worsen the life of the victim and are a burden on the patient.

Mechanisms associated with schizophrenia

A number of studies have been carried out to find out the link between altered brain function and schizophrenia. The most commonly agreed hypothesis is the dopamine hypothesis which emphasizes that schizophrenia is the result of misfiring of the dopaminergic neurons. A number of psychological interpretations are also thought be responsible for the development of this disorder. Cognitive biases have been identified exclusively in the conditions of confusion and stress. Some cognitive features may lead to memory loss. Recent studies have indicated that the patients of schizophrenia are emotionally responsive to stressful conditions as well as to negative stimuli and such symptoms may worsen the state of the victim. Delusional beliefs and psychotic experiences may also make the condition of the patient poor.

The diagnosis of schizophrenia indicates changes in both brain structure and brain chemistry. Studies using the neurophysiological tests and brain imaging techniques like fMRI and PET have shown functional changes in the brain activity especially of the frontal lobes, temporal lobes and hippocampus. Changes in the brain volume particularly of the frontal cortex and the temporal lobes have been noticed. Since the neural circuits are altered, schizophrenia is sometimes considered as a collection of neuro-developmental disorders. While dealing with the mechanism of this disorder much consideration is given to the function of dopamine in the meso-limbic pathway of brain. This focus has largely resulted from the accidental finding that the phenothiazine drugs bear the potential of blocking the dopamine function so can help to diminish the psychotic symptoms. It is also supported by the fact that amphetamines which trigger dopamine release can intensify psychotic symptoms. The dopamine hypothesis points out that excessive release of the D2 receptors are the actual cause of schizophrenia.

In the present scenario much focus is centered on the neurotransmitter glutamate and reduced function of NMDA glutamate receptor in schizophrenia. The post-mortem of brains of patients of schizophrenia has shown abnormally low levels of glutamate receptors and glutamate blocking drugs can enhance cognitive problems. Reduction in the activity of glutamate can also affect the activity of frontal lobes and the hippocampus. Dopamine function is also known to be affected due to reduction in glutamate activity. Positive symptoms however, fail to respond to the glutamatergic medication.

Diagnosis

At present there is no definite test available that can assure that a particular person is suffering from schizophrenia. The health practitioners gather information from the medical, family and medical-health backgrounds in order to diagnose this disorder. The practitioner can also perform some sort of physical tests in order to check the symptoms of this disorder. The medical examination includes some lab tests in order to get an idea of the patient’s health. Mental health professionals deal with the symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, depression, anxiety or physical abuse. Some symptoms of schizophrenia can also occur in other disorders like the bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and personality disorder. Any disorder associated with abnormal behavior, mood or thinking for example borderline personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder (DID) commonly known as multiple personality disorder (MPD) are generally difficult to be distinguished from schizophrenia. The mental-health professionals can also perform mental test examinations. Patients of schizophrenia are at elevated risk of getting affected with anxiety or depression disorder and of committing suicide.

Medications

A number of treatments are yet available but medication plays a key role in treating schizophrenia. These medications are known as anti-psychotics as they reduce the intensity of the psychotic symptoms. Many health care professionals prescribe a combined dose of these medications along with the psychiatric drugs in order to provide benefit to the patient. Medications that are beneficial in dealing with the positive symptoms of this disorder are olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, paliperidone and asinapine. These drugs are also known as second generation anti-psychotics. These drugs act faster in comparison to the psychiatric medications. These anti-psychotic drugs also suffer from some side effects including dizziness, sleepiness and increased appetite. Weight gain, high blood sugar levels, increased blood lipid levels and sometimes higher level of prolactin hormone have been noticed. The medications that are useful in treating the symptoms of schizophrenia may not be equally effective in treating the symptoms of the disorder in childhood.

Mood stabilizer medications like lithium, carbamazepine and lamotrigine can be used to deal with mood fluctuations in addition to psychotic symptoms. These medications take a longer time to show their effect in addition to the anti-psychotic drugs. These drugs can cause birth defects if taken by pregnant women. Antidepressant medications can be taken in order to deal with depression in schizophrenia. The common antidepressants are serotonergic medications that affect the serotonin levels and the common examples are fluoxetine, paroxetine, citalopram and duloxetine. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a better option for the patients who show inadequate result while treating with medication trials as well as psychosocial interventions. While dealing with pregnant women with schizophrenia the health professions become more cautious and take extra care of the patient. Some medications can increase the risk of damage to fetus and during breast feeding so the health professionals try to overcome these factors.

Educating the family members about the symptoms, course and treatment of schizophrenia comes under the category of psycho-education. This tool includes family support, problem solving skills and help from care-providers at the time of crisis. This intervention has given better results if continued for several months as it decreases the problems associated with emotional and social stresses. The burden over the family members is also reduced as with the help of health experts the family relationship of the patient also improves. Assertive community treatment (ACT) is another intervention which consists of meeting of the health experts with the patient in community settings rather than home or home. The team of health professionals is made up of a variety of experts for example, a psychiatrist, nurse, case manager, employment counselor and substance abused counselor. This tool is helpful in the treatment of patients who are either hospitalized or become homeless. Medical and psychosocial interventions focusing on substance abuse are integral part of treatment that specifically deals with the patients of schizophrenia. According to an estimate about 50% patients of schizophrenia suffer from some kind of substance abuse or dependence.

Social skill training is another important tool that teaches e important skills to the patients so that they can handle social situations easily. This treatment is helpful for the patients that resist using drugs. Supported employment provides support like a work coach, interviewing for jobs and education and support for the employers to hire individuals with chronic medical illness. This treatment helps the patients to work for prolong hours. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a reality based intervention that helps a client to deal with all the problems that interfere with his or her ability to interact with others. This tool helps to improve social relationships of the individual. This intervention can be performed individually or in group sessions. By educating the patients about the side effects of the anti-psychotic drugs the body weight of the patient can be managed.

Prognosis

According to a report presented in 2011 about 24 million people are suffering from schizophrenia. This disorder occurs 1.4 times more frequently in males as compared to that in females. The peak ages for the onset of symptoms of the disorder are 20-28 years for males and 26-32 for females. The onset of the symptoms of the disorder is generally rare in childhood but may arise in later stages. The percentage of occurrence of schizophrenia varies in different nations. The patients are at a double risk of death than the normal individuals. Almost half of the patients suffer from substance abuse during their lifetime.

Current status

Cognitive remediation is in use now-a-days as it helps the individuals with schizophrenia to deal with the cognitive problems. Vocational rehabilitation deals with increasing the efficiency of the patient to deal with social situations. Peer-to-peer treatment is a promising intervention as it helps the individuals of schizophrenia to develop constructive involvement. More research is required to deal with the weight management problems.

Hip Hop History

Rap music originated as a cross-cultural product. Most of its important early practitioners-including Kool Herc, D.J. Hollywood, and Afrika Bambaataa-were either first- or second-generation Americans of Caribbean ancestry. Herc and Hollywood are both credited with introducing the Jamaican style of cutting and mixing into the musical culture of the South Bronx. By most accounts Herc was the first DJ to buy two copies of the same record for just a 15-second break (rhythmic instrumental segment) in the middle. By mixing back and forth between the two copies he was able to double, triple, or indefinitely extend the break. In so doing, Herc effectively deconstructed and reconstructed so-called found sound, using the turntable as a musical instrument.

While he was cutting with two turntables, Herc would also perform with the microphone in Jamaican toasting style-joking, boasting, and using myriad in-group references. Herc’s musical parties eventually gained notoriety and were often documented on cassette tapes that were recorded with the relatively new boombox, or blaster, technology. Taped duplicates of these parties rapidly made their way through the Bronx, Brooklyn, and uptown Manhattan, spawning a number of similar DJ acts. Among the new breed of DJs was Afrika Bambaataa, the first important Black Muslim in rap. (The Muslim presence would become very influential in the late 1980s.) Bambaataa often engaged in sound-system battles with Herc, similar to the so-called cutting contests in jazz a generation earlier. The sound system competitions were held at city parks, where hot-wired street lamps supplied electricity, or at local clubs. Bambaataa sometimes mixed sounds from rock-music recordings and television shows into the standard funk and disco fare that Herc and most of his followers relied upon. By using rock records, Bambaataa extended rap beyond the immediate reference points of contemporary black youth culture. By the 1990s any sound source was considered fair game and rap artists borrowed sounds from such disparate sources as Israeli folk music, bebop jazz records, and television news broadcasts.

In 1976 Grandmaster Flash introduced the technique In 1979 the first two rap records appeared: “King Tim III (Personality Jock),” recorded by the Fatback Band, and “Rapper’s Delight,” by Sugarhill Gang. A series of verses recited by the three members of Sugarhill Gang, “Rapper’s Delight” became a national hit, reaching number 36 on the Billboard magazine popular music charts. The spoken content, mostly braggadocio spiced with fantasy, was derived largely from a pool of material used by most of the earlier rappers. The backing track for “Rapper’s Delight” was supplied by hired studio musicians, who replicated the basic groove of the hit song “Good Times” (1979) by the American disco group Chic. Perceived as novel by many white Americans, “Rapper’s Delight” quickly inspired “Rapture” (1980) by the new-wave band Blondie, as well as a number of other popular records. In 1982 Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock” became the first rap record to use synthesizers and an electronic drum machine. With this recording, rap artists began to create their own backing tracks rather than simply offering the work of others in a new context. A year later Bambaataa introduced the sampling capabilities of synthesizers on “Looking for the Perfect Beat” (1983).of quick mixing, in which sound bites as short as one or two seconds are combined for a collage effect. Quick mixing paralleled the rapid-editing style of television advertising used at the time. Shortly after Flash introduced quick mixing, his partner Grandmaster Melle Mel composed the first extended stories in rhymed rap. Up to this point, most of the words heard over the work of disc jockeys such as Herc, Bambaataa, and Flash had been improvised phrases and expressions. In 1978 DJ Grand Wizard Theodore introduced the technique of scratching to produce rhythmic patterns.

Sampling brought into question the ownership of sound. Some artists claimed that by sampling recordings of a prominent black artist, such as funk musician James Brown, they were challenging white corporate America and the recording industry’s right to own black cultural expression. More problematic was the fact that rap artists were also challenging Brown’s and other musicians’ right to own, control, and be compensated for the use of their intellectual creations. By the early 1990s a system had come about whereby most artists requested permission and negotiated some form of compensation for the use of samples. Some commonly sampled performers, such as funk musician George Clinton, released compact discs (CDs) containing dozens of sound bites specifically to facilitate sampling. One effect of sampling was a newfound sense of musical history among black youth. Earlier artists such as Brown and Clinton were celebrated as cultural heroes and their older recordings were reissued and repopularized.

During the mid-1980s, rap moved from the fringes of hip-hop culture to the mainstream of the American music industry as white musicians began to embrace the new style. In 1986 rap reached the top ten on the Billboard pop charts with “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” by the Beastie Boys and “Walk This Way” by Run-DMC and Aerosmith. Known for incorporating rock music into its raps, Run-DMC became one of the first rap groups to be featured regularly on MTV (Music Television). Also during the mid-1980s, the first female rap group of consequence, Salt-N-Pepa, released the singles “The Show Stoppa” (1985) and “Push It” (1987); “Push It” reached the top 20 on Billboard’s pop charts. In the late 1980s a large segment of rap became highly politicized, resulting in the most overt social agenda in popular music since the urban folk movement of the 1960s. The groups Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions epitomized this political style of rap. Public Enemy came to prominence with their second album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988), and the theme song “Fight the Power” from the motion picture Do the Right Thing (1989),by American filmmaker Spike Lee. Proclaiming the importance of rap in black American culture, Public Enemy’s lead singer, Chuck D., referred to it as the African American CNN (Cable News Network).

Alongside the rise of political rap came the introduction of gangsta rap, which attempts to depict an outlaw lifestyle of sex, drugs, and violence in inner-city America. In 1988 the first major album of gangsta rap was released: Straight Outta Compton by the rap group NWA (Niggaz With Attitude). Songs from the album generated an extraordinary amount of controversy for their violent attitudes and inspired protests from a number of organizations, including the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). However, attempts to censor gangsta rap only served to publicize the music and make it more attractive to both black and white youths. NWA became a platform for launching the solo careers of some of the most influential rappers and rap producers in the gangsta style, including Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy-E.

In the 1990s rap became increasingly eclectic, demonstrating a seemingly limitless capacity to draw samples from any and all musical forms. A number of rap artists have borrowed from jazz, using samples as well as live music. Some of the most influential jazz-rap recordings include Jazzamatazz CD (1993), an album by Boston rapper Guru, and “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)” (1993), a single by the British group US3. In the United Kingdom, jazz-rap evolved into a genre known as trip-hop, the most prominent artists and groups being Tricky and Massive Attack. As rap became increasingly part of the American mainstream in the 1990s, political rap became less prominent while gangsta rap, as epitomized by the Geto Boys, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Tupac Shakur, grew in popularity.

Since the mid-1980s rap music has greatly influenced both black and white culture in North America. Much of the slang of hip-hop culture, including such terms as dis, fly, def, chill, and wack, have become standard parts of the vocabulary of a significant number of young people of various ethnic origins. Many rap enthusiasts assert that rap functions as a voice for a community without access to the mainstream media. According to advocates, rap serves to engender self-pride, self-help, and self-improvement, communicating a positive and fulfilling sense of black history that is largely absent from other American institutions. Political rap artists have spurred interest in the Black Muslim movement as articulated by minister Louis Farrakhan, generating much criticism from those who view Farrakhan as a racist. Gangsta rap has also been severely criticised for lyrics that many people interpret as glorifying the most violent and misogynistic (woman-hating) imagery in the history of popular music. The style’s popularity with middle-class whites has been attacked as vicarious thrill-seeking of the most insidious sort. Defenders of gangsta rap argue that no matter who is listening to the music, the raps are justified because they accurately portray life in inner-city America.

Look Online for the Best Catcher’s Mask and Youth Catcher’s Gear

Your softball catching mitt is the type of a softball mitt which is heavily cushioned and is used by chiefly by fastpitch softball catchers. The gloves utilized by catchers only, can in no way be used for any other position player. A catcher’s mitt, which is larger when compared to a standard softball mitt, features a large pocket. If you’re planning to order a softball catcher’s mitt, first you really should consider the size that you need. The common dimension for a catcher’s glove is 32 – 33 inches.

Youth mitts usually have scaled-down wrist openings and finger stalls compared to adult softball catcher glove. The catcher’s mitt should conform to a person’s hand and fit tight. Another important consideration will be the leatther quality of the catcher’s mitt. Exactly the same way other styles of mitts are constructed from a variety of materials, hence catcher’s gloves also perform the best if it’s constructed from full leather. Usually, the catching gloves, when created from soft leather, wear out quickly. The very next thing will be that you differentiate the features which accompany the catcher’s mitt. Always remember that catching gloves will need to offer very heavy padding over the palm to safeguard the softball participant from painful palm bruises.

In the case of softball, commonly the softball catcher glove will come with smaller padding and also a bigger pocket for the larger sized ball.A coach can augment these types of mitts with some added foam padding that will protect the ballplayers hand. Some specially designed versions of softball catcher mitts utilize different new technologies in order to protect your hand better and improve catching, at the same time. While choosing a catcher mitt, take proper care that the padding won’t affect the catching ability. The cost of a softball catching mitt is more than many other standard mitts. It’s possible to either buy a softball catcher’s mitt on the net or purchase one at a sporting goods store where one gets the main advantage of trying the mitt on.

Price tags are less costly on-line however therefore consider trying the mitt on in the shop and order it on-line to save 15-20%. Another factor when choosing a youth softball catcher’s mitt is to not purchase it too “large” There are lots of individuals who think that she will grow into it”. Get the right sizing and avoid needless hassle or potential player injury. You can generally trade mitts as your own player gets older and requires a bigger size. As a final point, catcher gloves have evolved into being more flexible and looking more like a 1st base mitt as the explosiveness of the softball glove to hand transfer for a catcher is important to throwing out base runners or making various other plays. Typically, you might have your gloves with open and closed webbing.

Open web is the option of middle infielders, first base and some outfielders. It helps them to get the ball out of the mitt more rapidly. Even so, open webbing will not last for a catcher Thus, the closed webbing is usually the choice of catchers.. They like the extra support that a closed webbing delivers.

You Can Survive!

We are surrounded by modern conveniences, so much so that we take most of them for granted, until we don’t have them. From the knife and fork we use to the more complex machines we have built to serve us such as computers, washing machines and even the car we drive. We have developed a way of life where many think they cannot do without these modern day ‘necessities’. Is all the gadgetry we have surrounded ourselves with really ‘necessities’ or have we let ourselves become victims to so much gadgetry that even a broken pencil cannot be sharpened because the electric sharpener is out of batteries? I’m not against having modern conveniences. They have made life easier. But the individual who will survive cannot become so much a slave to luxuries that they cannot do without them. There have been people who have died because they have lost all their modern gear in some outdoor activity because they could not escape the mentality that they were lost without it. It is a fact that disillusionment and the paranoia that follows it are the biggest killers among people thrust into a survival situation.

History bears out what can happen to a people locked into this mentality. Did you know there were people who died on the Oregon trail because they lost their silver forks and spoons and figured they could not eat because they no longer had the tools they were used to eating with? It’s true! Many others died when their food supplies ran out because they would not eat the wild game their guides provided because they considered it uncivilized. Even earlier than the Oregon Trail, back to the establishing of the first European settlements in this land, many perished waiting for the supply ships though they lived in a land of plenty. Had it not been for some friendly Native Americans who opened their eyes to nature’s bounty and how to make and use the tools they used, the casualties would have been even higher.

In 1989 Hurricane Hugo hit the south-eastern coast of the U.S. and came farther inland than any hurricane on record. Many lives were lost and entire cities were crippled. Most people who lived that far inland never dreamed they could be affected so much by a hurricane. After all, there were hurricanes before and only coastal dwellers needed to be concerned with such phenomena, or so many reasoned, many to their despair. I was amazed at how helpless many people seemed. But there were some, thank God, that would not allow their minds to succumb to the numbness of despair and helplessness and helped out one another, bringing about a sense of community never witnessed before on such a scale. It took a tragedy such as Hugo to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. Unfortunately it takes a crisis to show us what we are made of sometimes.

What about you? Are you a survivor or a potential casualty? Ask yourself, when the odds are against you, what do you do? A true survivor will continue no matter what the odds. He will not look at what he hasn’t got and despair, he will look at what he has got and work with it. It is this quality of life that has helped people face survival situations in the past and gave them the energy to not only survive but also live a life with meaning. Too many have forgotten or never learned what a blessing it is to simply live. Groping for comfort upon comfort will only lead to disappointment and discontent. Knowing how to do with little will make you appreciate what you have whether it be a little or a lot. In a survival situation, whether it be a collapsed economy, stranded in the wilderness or whatever the case may be, will demand courage, determination and perhaps something more. But the power is within us all to overcome our ‘impossible’ odds and rise above them victorious. You are capable of much more than you probably give yourself credit for. Learn to dig deep within. Draw from that well of spiritual power that is within us all. You can survive!

Survival Basics – An Introduction

As much as is possible, plan ahead. Train yourself in the skills you think you will need. Challenge yourself by testing what you know under controlled circumstances and try to see the flaws in your skills. As much as is possible, prepare. Don’t wait until you are thrust into a situation and then have to learn or wish you would have took the time to learn. I always caution all my students that just because they have taken a survival course or read a book on survival or watched a TV show on survival doesn’t mean they should go out like an expert and think they can survive. Take time to master your skills. I suggest you train yourself by doing things like take matches with you camping but also take a bow and drill fireset. Try to make fire without matches during your trip but if you can’t then you have your matches to fall back on. Take your tent but build an emergency shelter and stay in it instead. Use your tent if you have to though. Maybe even set up a modern camp then strike out, set up a survival camp and use it, that way you have a backup if you need it. Always be safe. Test your skills little by little. Allow yourself to experience survival skills. Take some classes in survival skills. Then when you are ready you and some fellow ‘survivors’ try it on your own. Never purposely endanger yourself. Always have a back up plan and inform others where you will be and what time to expect you back. That way a search party will know where to look should things go badly.

You may be surprised how little it really takes to enjoy the outdoors. You will find you don’t need the entire outdoor store catalog on your back to enjoy yourself. In fact that is kind of what got me interested in survival skills. I was part of a camping organization as a boy. They took a group of us camping and we were so loaded down with so much stuff it was unreal! I quickly learned that the more skills I had, the less stuff I needed.

Survival Basic Attitudes

Are you an outdoorsman? No matter how experienced an outdoorsman you may be… you could become lost in the woods. It could happen to anyone. Daniel Boone, famous pioneer, even got lost. He wouldn’t admit it though. His words were, “I’ve never been lost but I was a might bewildered for several days.” You could be out in your canoe or boat and get overturned, losing all your gear. What would you do? It seems to be in the news almost daily, some family, individual or scout-type group strike out into the wild and get lost or injured or caught in the dark. Most are not prepared. Families out on a day hike get off the trail and become lost with inadequate supplies. Many people have died from exposure, when something as simple as being able to build a fire without matches or constructing a simple debris shelter could have saved their lives. Mother Nature is unforgiving but she is also no respecter of persons and will yield her resources to anyone who knows how to access them.

Many outdoor enthusiasts, perhaps most, are so dependent on their modern gear that they would be lost without it. Modern outdoor conveniences make recreation in the outdoors very pleasurable, but the wise person will have a backup plan. Taking a survival skills course and a first aid course from an experienced teacher is a wise thing to do, for nothing can replace hands-on experience for learning lifesaving skills. I teach survival skills courses, but I remember when I first tried to build a bow drill fire by reading a book on the subject with no success. It was not until an experienced teacher had shown me what I was doing wrong that I successfully could go into the woods and with nothing but what was around me construct a bow drill and build a lifesaving fire. I have had readers though that have written and told me that they were able to build a bow and drill fire from the instruction I gave in my articles and books. I do try to write from experience and try to think about what I would like to be told if I were the student.

I shall attempt to explain what I consider some of the basics of staying alive in a survival situation in this article. My approach in this article is more or less written from the assumption that all modern gear is lost. In such a situation you must survive with only what nature can provide.

Survival Priorities and Basics

The first thing to remember, if thrust into a survival situation, is to remain calm. Panic has lead to death in many situations, for one cannot think clearly with the anxiety brought on by simply not calming yourself and using your head. In fact statistically, Panic is the number one killer in a survival situation. Exposure is number two. Bill Gingrass, a fine outdoor survival and primitive skills instructor, came up with a good way of reminding yourself of this, remember the acronym S.T.O.P. Stop, Think, Observe, Plan. STOP, don’t wander around. Sit down, calm yourself. Do whatever you have to do to get control of the situation. If you’ve planned ahead, informed someone of the trail or water you intended on travelling and the time you plan on returning, they will know to send someone if you don’t show up at the appointed place and time. Rely on the knowledge and skills you have, you can survive! THINK, assess the situation for what it really is, not what your panicked mind is magnifying the situation to be. OBSERVE, look in your pockets and look around you at what you have that would be useful. Do you have a pocket knife? A pocket knife is much more practical than a large sheath knife and can accomplish most tasks. Even a good-sized sapling can be brought down with a pocket knife if the sapling is bent and cut on the tension side of the bend. Do you have a canteen on your belt or a survival kit? Survival kits are good, if they are well thought out and remain on your belt where they cannot become separated from you.

Most kits on the market are sadly lacking, especially the type found in the hollow handle of so-called ‘survival knives’, made famous by Rambo. Hollow handled knives were originally designed to contain dehydration tablets and the ‘saw’ on the back was never designed for sawing wood, but ripping out an opening in the fuselage of a downed plane. Hollow handles make a knife easy to break because the tang doesn’t go far enough into the handle. PLAN to stay alive. What are your priorities? You must plan on staying a long period of time, even if it so happens that you are rescued quickly. Set up a permanent camp, don’t try to find your way out, unless you know where you are going and it will not require more energy than you have to give and can supply yourself for such a trip.

Consider how long it is till sunset. Don’t get caught unprepared in the dark. The darkness changes everything. Temperatures can drop rapidly. You can’t see as well. Nocturnal animals that have superior night vision come out at night. In a survival situation you become just another part of the food chain. Depending on how you use your brain and survival skills you have acquired will determine how high on the food chain you remain.

How do you determine how long it is till sunset? Hold up your hand in front of you in your line of sight placing your four fingers just under where the sun appears on the horizon. Move your hand downward to a position just under where your hand was before, counting how many hands and/or fingers down to the horizon. Each hand is an hour, each finger is 15 minutes. This will give you a rough estimate and will vary depending on your hand size. Test this method before you get in a survival situation to your hand size versus timing with a clock. Then you will have a more accurate idea of how accurate your measure is.

As soon as possible, signal in some manner. Three is the universal distress signal, whether it is three gun shots, three fires or whatever the case may be. If you do decide to hike out clearly mark your trail so searchers may track you easily. Why not just bring a cell phone for calling 911? Never count on a cell phone in the wilderness where there may be no towers to even get a signal. Sometimes travelling down the road it is hard enough to get a signal much less in the wilderness.

Your top four priorities, in order of importance, are as follows: SHELTER, FIRE, WATER, then FOOD. Why this order? Most people that die when thrust into a survival situation die of exposure, not hunger or thirst. Hypothermia, one condition of exposure, is the condition of the body when it is losing or has lost heat quicker than it can produce it. Hypothermia can occur at 50 degrees F believe it or not. Hypothermia at 50 degrees F usually happens when one has fallen into the water and suddenly their body loses heat unexpectedly. If you do fall into the water try to remember to ball up into a ball, drawing your knees close to your chest allowing your body to adjust to the temperature of the water before you   swim  out. Symptoms of hypothermia are uncontrollable shivering (early stages), redness of the skin, numbness, usually in the extremities, such as toes, fingers, hands and feet, slurring of speech and lack of concentration. In advanced cases there is no shivering and the person is usually incoherent. You must get the victim of hypothermia warm as quickly as possible. If you are with someone in this condition, and you are lucky enough to still have a sleeping bag, crawl into the sleeping bag with them with bare skin to skin contact.

Even if you don’t have a sleeping bag shelter yourselves somehow, out of the wind and insulate yourselves in some manner, with natural debris or some material and do the same. Build a fire as soon as possible. In some situations, such as this, the fire may actually take a higher priority than shelter, acquiring shelter as soon as possible. If a person is in advanced stages of hypothermia no matter how warm a blanket or sleeping bag they have it will not help. In this state the person’s body is not producing enough heat to preserve by insulating them. You must warm the person. Warm liquids and a heat source are what is needed. If not treated early the victim will eventually experience frostbite and will begin to have blackening of the extremities, such as toes, fingers, ears and nose followed by entire limbs and will eventually lose the use of these body parts. The body will preserve the core (heart and brain) above other body parts in an attempt to stay alive.

Hyperthermia is the opposite of hypothermia. Hyperthermia is when the body becomes overheated. Sometimes the dangers of heat are underestimated. In the summer of 1980, a severe heat wave hit the United States, and nearly 1,700 people lost their lives from heat-related illness. Likewise, in the summer of 2003, tens of thousands of people died of the heat in Europe. High temperatures put people at risk. People that are particularly susceptible to heat are infants, people age 65 or older and those who are obese. People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures can damage the brain or other vital organs. It’s like having a fever. Several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other factors that can cause hyperthermia are dehydration, alcohol use and certain drugs. Hydration is so important in hot or cold conditions.

Two common problems of hyperthermia are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion usually occurs before heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt contained in sweat. A person suffering from heat exhaustion may be sweating profusely. The skin may even be cool and moist. The victim’s pulse rate may be fast and weak, and breathing may be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10-15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause brain damage, permanent disability or even death if emergency treatment is not given. Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature (above 104°F), reddening of the skin, no sweating, a rapid pulse, a throbbing headache, dizziness and in extreme cases nausea, confusion, seizures, unconsciousness and death. What should you do if you or someone experiences hyperthermia? First of all catch it as early as possible. Get the victim cool. Get them into the shade. Immerse them in water if you can. Even soaking the clothing with water will help. As the liquid evaporates it will take away heat from the body. Fan them. Do not allow consumption of alcohol. I know certain TV shows show the survivalist drinking urine for emergency water. Urine will actually dehydrate a person further as will drinking alcohol and blood. Soaking the clothes with alcohol or urine would be a better use. The evaporation process from the clothing can help cool the body. And of course, get medical attention as soon as possible.

Be resourceful. Be creative in a survival situation. Think. The life you save may be your own or someone close to you. Control your circumstances as much as is possible. Don’t let things get out of control. Think ahead. You can survive!

Salvador, Pituba Apartments A Convenient Home In A Desirable Location

Pituba is one of the most populated and well-known upscale neighborhoods of Salvador. It is a modern locality with many top class luxury condos, shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas, hospitals and many other commercial outlets. Some of the best malls in Salvador are located in Pituba. It is also a place with good educational facilities and is also home to the postal headquarters.

On the real estate front, the locality offers some very high class apartments. Pituba apartments are located in prime areas close to all necessary facilities for comfortable living.

Real Estate In Salvador, Pituba – An Overview

Real estate here is perfect if you want to buy a home in a well-developed locality with all conveniences close by. The area has the widest range of shops and services in Salvador. There are a number of corporate buildings as well as banks and plenty of employment avenues. It is a busy neighborhood and good roads connect it with the other parts of the city. You also have a great beach in the area.

Apartments in Pituba are available from as low as R$175,000 and the price can go close to R$1,000,000 for a large apartment. On an average, an apartment will cost about R$458,000.

Pituba Apartments Below R$300,000

Even at the low end of the range, apartments in Pituba are situated in very attractive locations close to shopping malls, supermarkets, schools, colleges and beaches. Most apartments are located in multi-floor buildings with basic common facilities. However, it is also possible to find apartments in small resort style condos with all leisure facilities.

Size: About 40 to 80 sq. meters of built-up area with one or two bedrooms and possibly one suite.

Facilities:

• Swimming pool (in some condos).

• Parking for one vehicle.

• Separate bathroom for maids.

At the higher end of the range you can expect some of the following:

• Maid’s quarters.

• Sports courts.

• Assembly room.

• Gym.

• Play area for children.

• Service Area.

Apartments are also available in the same price range in resort style condos with many facilities, but the size of the apartment will be smaller. However, you will get premium features and services including leisure facilities usually found only in high-end condos.

Apartments From R$300,000 To R$400,000

This range of apartments is again located in convenient places close to all everyday conveniences.

Size: Ranges from 40 to 110 sq. meters in built-up area with two or three bedrooms and possibly one suite.

Facilities:

• Pool (in most condos).

• Parking.

• Gym.

• Assembly room.

• Ballroom.

• Maid’s quarters.

• Concierge (24 hours).

• Games room.

• Barbecue facilities.

Apartments From R$400,000 To R$600,000

These apartments are located in even better areas close to the shopping malls and everyday conveniences like stores, supermarkets, schools and colleges. Most of them provide a number of leisure facilities.

Size: Ranges from 90 to 230 sq. meters in built-up area with two to four bedrooms. You can also expect one or two suites.

Facilities:

• Swimming pool.

• Parking for up to two vehicles.

• Playground (in some condos).

• Maid’s quarters.

• Sports courts.

• Games room.

• Gym.

• Assembly room.

• Barbecue area.

• Ballroom.

• Concierge.

Apartments Priced Above R$600,000

These are the high-end apartments in the locality and are situated in the very best areas. You will find spacious apartments with sea views and plenty of leisure facilities.

Size: The built-up area ranges from 85 to 300 sq. meters. You can expect two to five bedrooms and two to four suites.

Facilities:

• Large swimming pool with premium features. You may also get a separate pool for kids.

• Parking for multiple vehicles.

• Playground (in some condos).

• Gym.

• Sports courts.

• Assembly room.

• Play area for kids.

• Games room.

• Sauna.

• Ballroom.

• Party area with kitchen.

• Kiosks.

• Barbecue.

• Maid’s quarters.

If you are looking for a nice apartment in Salvador in an upscale neighborhood with all facilities, then Pituba is the locality for you. The apartments here are located in the very best and convenient locations and offer a number of leisure features. This also makes these apartments easy to rent and you can expect good rental income in case you choose to do so.

Team Sport Advantages and Disadvantages for Your Child

Nowadays, children, besides of going to the school, practice a sport, mostly a team sport. And just like so many things, this also has its advantages and disadvantages on physical, emotional and mental field.

The decision of which one is greater, the advantages or the disadvantages depend on the point of view of the parents and of the children.

Emotional advantages:

– They will learn the value of teamwork

– They will learn how to work in a team

– They will develop their ability of trusting someone else

– They will learn how to select the trustful people

– They will make more friends

Emotional disadvantages:

– the pressure of being the best

– the possibility of not being the best

– possible emotional implications of not being the best can affect the self-esteem of a child

Mental advantages:

– physical activity stimulates the brain

– sport is a way of relaxing of the stress and pressure from the school, therefore, after exercises, the lessons will be automatically easier to understand and to learn

Mental disadvantages:

– competitive sport takes precedence over a child’s education

– learning may be neglected

– lack of mentally challenge

Physical advantages:

– they will learn the benefits of being fit, limber and strong

– it ensures a great and healthy growth of the body of the child

– they will be protected by obesity

Physical disadvantages:

– the danger of long-term injury

– early overuse of joints, ligaments and muscles can lead to joint and tendon problems, arthritis, back and neck problems

These issues have to be considered again and again before deciding on the type of sport that your child will be practicing.

Party Planning Basics – Children’s Birthday Party

When your child has a birthday coming up it is the goal of every parent to throw the best possible celebration for them. It can be overwhelming to host a children’s birthday party though. It can seem like there is a much planning involved and finding the right place to start can induce stress. Take a deep breath and relax though. With these basic tips you will plan their party with ease and every one will have a great time at the party.

The first thing you want to do before you plan any party is to sit down and have a brainstorming session. Get a pad of paper, a cup of coffee, and get to work. The most important thing is to focus on your child

What birthday are they celebrating? A first birthday party is very different from a twelfth birthday party. A first birthday party will probably be more focused on inviting family and you will probably not have much input from the birthday child. A twelfth birthday party will probably involve more of the birthday child’s friends being invited and they will most likely provide tons of input as to what they want.

If your child has some specific ideas about their party, then by all means invite them to the brainstorming session. Perhaps you can make it a special outing at a coffee shop where you can discuss things over hot cocoa and coffee.

Other things to think about at this brainstorming session are the party’s theme, menu, and venue. You may make some decisions at this brainstorming session but the most important thing is to get all of your ideas down on paper. Check your calendar and pick the best date for the birthday party. Create a timeline for events at the party so that you can decide what the best time to have the party is.

A party would not be complete with guests, so spend some time deciding on your guest list as well. This will help you decide many things including whether or not your venue is big enough, how many invitations you will need, amount of food required, and how much party supplies to order.

Getting all of these ideas and basic party planning steps on paper will get you one step closer to smoothly planning a children’s birthday party. Your child will have a wonderful day and your guests will be wowed by your party planning skills.

Get Busy With Online Dating Before Old Man Winter Comes!

While the calendar says differently, the passing of Labor Day marked the end of summer in the minds of most of us. While the fall weather brings relief from the heat outside, inside the minds of many men and women who are singles, Labor Day also means a shift in our thinking as we search for casual dating partners, sexual partners, or serious relationship partners. You can become more interested in finding a partner knowing what is ahead on the calendar.

Traditionally, if you hit this time of year, some of you might be looking for a special someone with whom to watch football games and snuggle under blankets. For those of us who are unable to forget September 11th, that is certainly a day of reflection about where your life has gone, where it is at the moment, and where you want it to go.

But the next major milestone on the single’s calendar might be Halloween. This holiday can be a really fun social event with a significant other. Next comes Thanksgiving. While turkey and all the fixings are often shared with family, having a person you’re dating can make everything taste better.

And then of course there is Hanukkah for some, and Christmas for the rest of us. All the wrapped presents in the world can’t replace the feeling of being wrapped in the arms of someone you love on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. So you can wait and ask Santa again for your perfect match. You can try to convince him you’ve been a good girl or boy. Needless to say, having someone to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve is really the only fireworks singles care about at all.

Or you can take a chance and put yourself out there in the world of online dating.

The internet is such an amazing tool. You use to search for things you want to find, things you want to buy, and things you want to learn about. So why not use online dating to find men or women to date, or find the perfect match of your dreams? You can’t use the internet to buy a person legally, but you can use it to buy an online dating service. And you can certainly jump into this process to learn more about yourself and other people.

So, if you don’t have an online dating profile, why not create one? If you already have a profile, why not give it a fresh look? Hopefully, either of these actions will lead you to the goals you have and the happiness you want in sharing all that life has to offer with a relationship partner. So, now that Labor Day has come and gone, why not get to work on dating? Improve your social life before the long, lonely days and nights with Old Man Winter!

Autism Sensory Integration – Why Are Small Tools Needed?

If you have young children with Autism, you may have noticed they shy away from you and others. Part of the reason for this is the sensory problems that a child with Autism can have. Many children with Autism do not like to be touched.

They can draw their hands back if you try to touch them like something is hot. One of the ways to combat this is by using small tools that a children with Autism might like to touch.

The tool might be as simple as a small tub with sand or water in it. It could also be something like a koosh ball. A koosh ball is a plastic ball with things that look like hair or spines coming out of it. There are soft one and hard ones. Parents can find them at dollar stores.

Being able to carry as small sensory toy or tool is ideal. At first you can play with it and let your child watch. Eventually you can let your child touch it or guide your child to touch it. Very slowly your child will take over the tool. Then it is time to find a new one with a new feel.

Using tools like this help lead to the ability for a parent and later a teacher to be able to touch a child’s hands. Touching their hands is important to teaching other skills. Some parents also notice that the small tool has also become a tool to help with behaviors like waiting or calming down.

Small tools are also wonderful for another reason. Many times it is difficult to teach a child with Autism to cross midline with a toy. ‘Crossing midline’ means they can move a toy across their body to the other hand. Part of the reason a child will not do that can be the sensory defenses in their hands.

Crossing midline is considered a milestone for children with disabilities. If your child participates in physical therapy or occupational therapy this is one of the early goals. Parents can start some of this work, gently of course, early on.

Autism Sensory Integration – Large Tools

There are a lot of different tools that parents can use for sensory integration for a child with Autism. Sensory Integration is one of the answers to calming our children during times of stress. It does not matter where the stress comes from the techniques know about sensory integration seem to help. Sometimes parents will not even know the reasons for a melt down.

There are several large tools parents can look at using with their child with Autism. Some of those tools are perfect for parents looking for ‘Autism on a Budget’ techniques, especially when some of those techniques are free ones. As always you have to try different ones out to see if they work.

One of the easy large tools is the local play ground. Many children with Autism respond to swings. The back and forth motion seems to be calming to them. Even twisting the swing around and around and letting it go back is soothing to some children with disabilities.

Some parents will find putting a swing in their yard will help so that they have quick access. Do you remember the old tire swings that used to be in backyards? This could be perfect for a child with Autism to hold on to and use, as well as easy on your budget.

Yes of course you could buy more expensive swing sets or even the more expensive ‘specialty’ swings that are sold for occupational therapy. I am sure there will and are other things that you will need to buy or pay for that may or may not be as easily handled.

Another large tool parents may want to add to their tool chest, if you will, is a ball pool. Many fast food playgrounds have ball pools or ball pits. They have the hollow balls in some type of container, which the child can get their whole body into.

The balls are three to five inches in diameter and very light weight. Something about the feel of all the balls touching them is soothing. As well as children just like to throw them around.

Many parents of children with Autism have purchased a children’s plastic pool and filled it with the hollow balls. They keep this in the house for their child. Children do need supervision when playing with the ball pool. Even though it is a bit of a mess having balls all over their room or the play area, DO NOT use any type of covering. Young children in particular have been hurt when a covering has been used to control the mess.